Is it easy to learn how to sail on your own? - Page 2 - SailNet Community
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post #11 of 18 Old 08-23-2010
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Yes Thriller, true sailors are born. I was born on the crest of a wave and rocked in the cradle of the deep. A mermaid was me mother, King Neptune was me father. Seaweed and barnacles be me clothes. Every tooth in me head is a marlinspike, the hair on me head is Italian hemp. Every bone in me body is a spar, and when I spits I spits Stockholm tar! I'm hard, I is I am I are! And yes, Heinhold’s used to be my corner bar!
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post #12 of 18 Old 08-23-2010
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Another author Malcolm Gladwell ( don't know if he sails) , suggests that it may take 10,000 hours to master your craft and be positioned for success. He uses the Beatles, Bill Gates, et al. as examples. Luck, timing and location are also contributing factors.

That's about 3 1/2 years of sailing if you sail 365 days a year 8 hours a day.
or 41 days a year...for 30 years

If that's true, you are somewhere along the timeline between 0 and 10,000. It will be difficult to get to 10,000 hours if you live 1 1/2 hours from the boat, but getting out there is the best way to learn. Having an experience sailor aboard or an instructor is great, but don't let the lack of one keep you at the dock! Pick your weather and go. Unless you are in an especially challenging area you should be able to practice make mistakes, survive them and learn from them. Reading everything you can helps. Reading becomes even more relevant after you've been out sailing, made a mistake and want to understand what happened.

What type of trouble did you get into when you went out last?

What body of water are you on?
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post #13 of 18 Old 08-23-2010
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Landsmen who bring arrogance and folly to the ocean will be corrected severely.

Those who are adaptable will become attuned to wind and wave and be wiser.
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post #14 of 18 Old 08-23-2010 Thread Starter
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very funny George

You forgot to mention that your uncles were Moe, Larry, and Curly.
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post #15 of 18 Old 08-23-2010 Thread Starter
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reply to Tempest

I agree with you, or I did agree with ya, until last week. I briefly mentioned in the original piece that I almost did serious damage to my boat and to myself when going out on my own recently. I didn't go into detail, because I did not want to be sidetracked in my message. Unless you are in a shallow pond or a lake with no current or channels to deal with, I suppose that would be fine. Otherwise, in my opinion, I would consider it to be vital that a sailor knows every part on his or her boat, how it works, how it is rigged, and how it is secured when sailing and when docked. Without that particular knowledge, a new sailor should not be out there alone. It was because of the experience that I had last Sunday and because of people before hand urging me to just go out and sail that prompted me to write the original piece. I stand firm to my original point: If you don't fully know what you are doing out there, you have no business being out there alone. Maybe that is what Jack London really was trying to say but couldn't find the words. haha.
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post #16 of 18 Old 09-02-2010
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@ThrillerDillerSchwill one thing I found out from learning on my own, after several days going out with my boat, I am now very comfortable with it. This is regarding to the operation of it, I have mastered it at this point. That is, as long as I don't have major problems out there. As I am still finding out, knowing how to work on the boat is all part of the game and seems to be just as important. So unless someone has a small dinghy that don't require much maintenance, you have to be able to fix and/or repair things. Especially if you are off on a cruise and something happens while your out there. To me this seems very critical. So learning how to work on the boat and fix things has been a bigger challenge to me then actually learning how to sail it. For example, simple things such as taking the mast down or working on rigging. I am going to get that Don Casey book on amazon which is a complete guide to sailboat maintenance looks like a must have for me. So in the end, actually sailing my boat was the easy part although docking in the slip took a little getting used to at first.

s/v Pirates Lady
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"The sound of the sea, is becoming very familiar to me."
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post #17 of 18 Old 09-07-2010
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Originally Posted by ThrillerDillerSchwill View Post
I am encouraged to write again!
Can I encourage you to use your return key once in a while. It would make reading it much easier. I just did not have the patience to read the first paragraph AKA original post. But here is my response from what I got from it.

You do not need to have someone with the same boat teach you how to sail. Most boats made in the last 40 years are about the same or at least within a size range. Each designer did not reinvent the wheel. Most 16 footer will be alike as well as 22 footers. When boats get 25 feet and over they might have a few variations as systems get more complicated and varied. However a real sailor, one born to it, will know his way around a boat, probably knew in since looking up at the sailing mobile above their crib.

Actually most experienced sailors could figure their way around any sailboat fairly quickly. Someone who has only sailed one boat and not very much could still teach you to sail but might have to work a bit to figure out how to run the jib sheets. After that it is just sailing.

If you have not read Cruise of the Snark, do so then you will not take Jack London's advice on sailing. As far as a born sailor though that could have many different aspects to it. I was born to a love of water sports, any kind, I love being on the water, sailing was a natural attraction. Could not have gotten it from my dad who got deathly seasick. I have sailed with a number of people who grew up around sailboats and they have such an intrinsic skill set, I may never obtain.

You do not mention what kind of boat you have or which books you have read, doing so would help us advise you. If your boat is more than 30 years old though you will probably be in for a big disappointment if you get a manual for it. Most older manuals were like a sails brochure congratulating you for your excellent taste, with very little information on the boat. You are better off finding an owner group online to inform you about your boat.

As to finding someone to teach you how to sail I would suggest you read a book like "The Complete Sailor" first. Because unless you are one of those people with a photographic memory you may not absorb everything the first time. Reading it while sitting on your boat may even help. Then when you get someone to teach you will be half way there.

One last suggestion pack a lunch for two and maybe bring some beer. There is always someone around the marina willing to go sailing, and some who would go out just for free food or maybe just beer.

West Wight Potter 14 "Lemon Drop"
Oceanside CA
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post #18 of 18 Old 09-10-2010
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Wink My 2 cents...

Prior to a year ago my sailing experience was one day on a Sailfish (daysailer) and a couple of days windsurfing, both when I was in my 20s.

Then when visiting my stepson (some 35 years later), his neighbor took us out on his 40' Beneteau. I was hooked.

Less than a year later we purchased a 19' WW Potter that we trailer to area lakes. I bought and read about 8 books on sailing; just bought a DVD from Amazon. We've only been able to make 5 2-day trips so far, but we're doing OK. I find it easy -- it's using the motor that scares me. We'll get a larger boat as soon as we move to the Puget Sound.

I wouldn't want to try winds greater than 12 knots, or take her out on the ocean, but we can travel around lakes and get back to the marina without incident.

Would I rather have lessons? You betcha. And when we get up north we will have our stepson and neighbor teach us more.

Yes, you never learn it all. But I plan to have a blast learning!
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